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Rooney: Steelers aren't in NFL's crosshairs

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By Scott Brown
Saturday, June 4, 2011

Dan Rooney doesn't believe the NFL is singling out the Steelers in its attempt to make the game safer. That doesn't mean the Steelers' chairman emeritus entirely favors the league's latest initiative, which will hold teams accountable for on-field behavior of their players.

"I think there's too many things involved to have that rule," Rooney said Friday at Heinz Field.

Last week, NFL owners unanimously approved rules changes that expand protection for defenseless players. The league will fine teams whose players are repeatedly punished for unnecessary roughness. Commissioner Roger Goodell also is considering docking teams draft picks if their players don't fall into line with the policy.

Many Steelers players felt the league singled them out last season when Goodell cracked down on hits to the head. All-Pro outside linebacker James Harrison was fined four times for a combined $100,000.

Harrison bashed the new rules during several interviews and on his Facebook page. Harrison, the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year in 2008, also wrote a lengthy blog post explaining his opposition to the rules. Outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley and receiver Hines Ward also have come out strongly against the changes, which have been tagged the "Steelers Rule."

"I don't think (the NFL is) calling it the 'Steelers Rule;' I think the press is," Rooney said. "It's just one of those things where you have to play and just do what you have to do."

The Steelers showed off some hard hitting yesterday when they aired their 2010 season highlight film at Heinz Field. Sponsors and team officials were treated to a montage of highlights, including safety Troy Polamalu's strip and sack of Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco in December.

Among the Steelers officials in attendance were Rooney and director of football operations Kevin Colbert. Team president Art Rooney II was not at the event; he was attending a funeral.

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